How many first aiders do I need?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question as there are many factors that determine the amount of provision for each individual company. We often get asked this question.
The short answer is that it depends upon your unique organisation. The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations make it clear that a company must carry out a first aid needs assessment to determine what provision should be reasonably provided. This needs assessment will determine the first aid materials and equipment that are appropriate for the risks that exist within the workplace, as well as the number of first aiders required. The amount of first aiders should be in line with the size of the workforce, the levels of risk and the shift patterns.
When carrying out your first aid needs assessment, consider the following 5 factors:
Step 1 – Consider the type of work that you do and select an appropriate first aid kit.
Think about work activities, the environment that your workforce operate in and the equipment and materials they work with. This will provide an indication of the range of injuries that may be encountered as well as the seriousness of those injuries. In low risk environments such as offices, the injuries that are likely to be encountered are of a relatively minor nature, e.g. cuts or small burns (from kettles or heaters). Therefore a basic first aid kit will be sufficient. However, if your employees use power tools, drive vehicles or work with hazardous substances such as chemicals or hot fats, then you may encounter more serious and complex injuries. Food and hospitality organisations may have to deal with serious burns whereas those in construction and engineering may encounter puncture wounds and crushing injuries. Select a first aid kit that include appropriate contents will enable your first aiders to treat the injuries that are most likely to be encountered.
Step 2 – Consider the size and locations of your workforce.
Do all of your employees work in one building? Do you have technicians or reps out on the road? Are you a multi site organisation? If you employ one hundred people who are all in one location then a large first aid kit is appropriate as it can be accessed by first aiders when required. However if you have team members working remotely or from other locations then you may need to provide several smaller kits that can be kept in vehicles or at smaller sites. The work activities of individuals should also be considered and appropriate first aid kits should be provided for employees based on their risk level.
Step 3 – Identify the number of trained first aiders you need.
It is essential that you have an appropriately trained member of staff that is responsible for first aid within your workforce. In many workforces, more than 1 first aider will be necessary. When determining the appropriate number of first aid trained personnel that are needed there are two options, an appointed person or a trained first aider. The responsibilities of the appointed person is to maintain the first aid equipment as well as the work environment and to call the emergency services when necessary. No formal first aid training is required for this role, although an emergency first aid at work course will provide the basic skills required to deliver emergency first aid. This course will enable the appointed person to provide emergency cover in situations where the first aider is unable to attend the scene for any reason. In low risk working environments, such as offices, an appointed person may be appropriate. In higher risk environments, formally trained first aiders will be required.
Step 4 – Determine the level of training required for your first aiders.
Your first aiders must be trained to an appropriate level to reflect the severity of risk that exists in your workplace. For some organisations, a certificate in emergency first aid is sufficient. For others, a first aid at work certificate, which includes more detailed content than emergency first aid, will be appropriate. The number of appointed persons and formally trained first aiders you require will be determined through your first aid needs assessment. Depending on the specific circumstances of your operations, it may be appropriate to have several people trained in emergency first aid and only a few with the more comprehensive course.
Step 5 – Should we be providing first aid provision for the public as well.
According to the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations, employers are not required to provide first aid for members of the public. However, if your organisation provides a service to the general public, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends that appropriate provisions of first aid for the public are provided.
Certified Skills provide first aid training services for all organisations through our team of highly qualified emergency services professionals. Review our courses and, if you need guidance on the appropriate provision of first aid for your company, then you can speak with one of our experts today.